I love talking to business owners and have spent most of my career doing that nearly every day. Now as a business owner myself, it’s not something I get to do as often — so it was a pleasure to work on the succession planning feature in this issue. It was great to connect with all the interviewees and cover such an important topic.
I say it in the story, but our industry is at a tipping point of business handovers, and if the hot tub industry is like most small businesses owned by baby boomers, that means we are woefully unprepared. This needs to change, not just for the sake of the industry but for the sake of all of you who put your blood, sweat and tears into its success.
I loved this quote from Mark Stevens, who recently converted Georgia Spa Company into an ESOP. “For so long, a lot of these owners have been beaten down and told, ‘You’re not going to be able to sell. Nobody buys these things, so you better leave it to somebody.’ And I’ve always thought that was wrong,” Stevens told me. What he says encapsulates the fear and dread that can hold business owners back from planning the next steps — but it doesn’t need to be that way, as Stevens found.
That’s why, in addition to the article in this issue, we are launching a series of succession planning education in 2024. We want to empower hot tub business owners to feel confident moving toward retirement and hear from colleagues and experts about how to make that happen.
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Enough about the story I wrote — we also cover a lot of other important (and fun) topics in this issue, like cash management, getting yourself out of a leadership rut and how to convince a local code official that your hot tub installation doesn’t need a fence.